1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Helen Maria Williams

Anonymous, "Sonnet to Miss Helen Maria Williams" New-York Weekly Magazine 2 (30 November 1796) 176.



Enchanting Williams! Nature's darling child,
Foster'd by Genius, and matur'd by Taste,
Who kindly on thy earliest efforts smil'd,
And with their choicest gifts thy fancy grac'd:
Gave thee a pow'r to steal upon the soul,
Mild as descend the evening's dewy stores,
And yet resistless as the waves that roll
O'er ocean's bed, when loud the tempest roars,
Taught thee to form, beyond the pow'r of art,
The tale that, as it melts, amends the heart—
The tale that, spite of Envy's self shall live,
Blest with th' approving Critic's smile benign:
For O! dear maid, 'tis thine alone to give
To energetic force a grace divine.